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A short drive through hell.
August 2, 2010 10:48 AM   Subscribe

A short drive through hell. NSFW swearing (in Russian).
posted by seanmpuckett (69 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
My heart is still racing five minutes later and all I can say is "jesus fuck" over and over.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:50 AM on August 2, 2010


Yeah, all kinds of fucked up things are happening in Russia right now. Massive fires like this one, the worst heat wave Moscow has ever seen, peat bogs burning all around the city and covering it in thick smog, the whole harvest in large parts of the country being destroyed by drought, etc. That's global warming for you.
posted by nasreddin at 10:55 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


On the upside, I suppose it saves on spark plugs if the engine decides to spontaneously combust.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:58 AM on August 2, 2010


For me the craziest part has to be around 3:08 when they are driving out of the fire and suddenly you realize it's daytime. The way the colour of the smoke shifts is startling.

Like the first link in this previous, ain't it interesting how one can learn foreign swear words from forest fire videos?
posted by Chichibio at 10:59 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why were they driving through the fire?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:03 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why does anyone do anything? Because it was there.

Oh, that was for climbing mountains, sorry.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:05 AM on August 2, 2010


I saw this over the weekend, and I also saw a short horror film. This was the more effective of the two. It's the tension of being stuck, surrounded by fire, outside. You should be able to get out from outside.
posted by cobaltnine at 11:05 AM on August 2, 2010


Why were they driving through the fire?

It seemed a good idea at the time, I guess.
posted by AdamCSnider at 11:09 AM on August 2, 2010


Funny how the YT title says (scary). All I could think of was (stupid).
posted by Mike Mongo at 11:12 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why were they driving through the fire?

You ask this because you can only see what's in front of them.
posted by dobbs at 11:13 AM on August 2, 2010 [16 favorites]


That's global warming for you.

Massive flooding in China.
Massive flooding in Pakistan.
Second lowest ice cover ever in the Arctic.
Highest global temps ever recorded for first 6 months.
etc.

The Three Gorges Dam is really funny. When it was built they said it could withstand the 1000 year flood. A few years later they said it could withstand a 100 year flood. This year they are saying it will withstand anything that happens in the next 10 years "guaranteed". These were all official government announcements so you know it's probably worse. Currently it's under threat by a giant garbage island.
posted by stbalbach at 11:14 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, maybe there was lightning in back of 'em, eh dobbs?
posted by Mister_A at 11:15 AM on August 2, 2010


They are so lucky they didn't end up like the people who tried to drive out of the Australia bushfires last year.
posted by longdaysjourney at 11:18 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


As far as I could tell, they were driving through the fire because the line of cars behind them wouldn't back up to let them reverse. Presumably they'd have taken another route if they knew they'd be facing THE MOUTH OF HELL on that particular road, but by the time I saw how bad it really was they were boxed in.
posted by AdamCSnider at 11:18 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Currently it's under threat by a giant garbage island.

No worries - the Chinese will take care of it with all that awesome green technology they're developing that's DECADES ahead of anything the US has even conceived.
posted by falameufilho at 11:18 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have a close friend whose family lives in this area-- where the peat fires are. Her mother says that you can smell potatoes baking in the fields. My friend is frantic with worry, of course.
posted by jokeefe at 11:18 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


In communist Russia globe warms YOU
posted by fire&wings at 11:22 AM on August 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


Presumably they'd have taken another route if they knew they'd be facing THE MOUTH OF HELL on that particular road, but by the time I saw how bad it really was they were boxed in.

Yep -- towards the beginning they talk about how surprised they are that the fire is that close.
posted by inigo2 at 11:25 AM on August 2, 2010


Translation from Russian:

"How much did you say we would get from winning these...these...what you say...Darwin Awards? Do they pay in cash?"
posted by Xoebe at 11:25 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised no one has carved out a little niche translating viral videos. I'd like to know what these guys were saying. And I'm sure a Russian guy somewhere is trying to find out why that drunk guy in Alabama is angry at people strutting that ass.
posted by crapmatic at 11:27 AM on August 2, 2010


OK I know what "Stoi" means, (pardon my Russian spelling) but what about "Briiyat"? I've heard that word spoken in other Russian videos as well.
posted by smoothvirus at 11:33 AM on August 2, 2010


I'm surprised no one has carved out a little niche translating viral videos. I'd like to know what these guys were saying.

If you click on the little CC button, you should have the option to see translated subtitles.
posted by divide_by_cucumber at 11:33 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


thanks divide_by_cucumber, the mystery of briiyat is solved. I'll be careful not to let that one fly in front of any Russian friends.
posted by smoothvirus at 11:37 AM on August 2, 2010


That's a pretty nasty situation that they found themselves in - I'd be hoping that nothing fell on the car and the tires didn't melt, let alone the radiator packing it in. There's more pictures of the fire up on English Russia.
posted by Zack_Replica at 11:39 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Once they get in the middle of the fire and are trying to figure out what to do, it started to feel like a video game. Or at least a Choose Your Own Adventure. I felt I was being asked to make a decision. And under the video it said, "Close Window," and my brain connected the two and I thought, "I should close the window, there is fire outside!" So I instinctively clicked "Close Window", and now I feel kind of silly.
posted by oulipian at 11:49 AM on August 2, 2010 [9 favorites]


The Big Picture featured the fires today too.
posted by IanMorr at 11:51 AM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


wow. that was nuts. whoever said upthread about realizing it was daytime...i was so confused too. it seemed daytime, then it was very dark, then they came out. man, i saw some weird stuff on tv from the CA forest fires, but this seems way crazier.

it took me a while to get the idea that they weren't purposely driving into the fire, but trying to get away. (at least i think that's what was going on.)

thanks for posting. still has me a bit heart-racing.
posted by sio42 at 11:55 AM on August 2, 2010


Wildfires can easily travel at 60 mph/100 kph, so you're in serious trouble even if you're in a vehicle. To say these guys were very, very lucky is an understatement.
posted by tommasz at 11:56 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


that might explain why they ended up being IN the fire. i'm guessing maybe the road was ok and then all of sudden, 60mph fire moves in and you're in the fire. that makes it even crazier.
posted by sio42 at 11:58 AM on August 2, 2010


One morning the wind happened to carry the smoke from the Russian fires here to Helsinki. Even with the great distance (several hundreds of kilometers by my understanding) it was still thick enough to make one feel somewhat uncomfortable. I can't imagine what it must be like for those close by.
posted by Anything at 11:59 AM on August 2, 2010


OK I know what "Stoi" means, (pardon my Russian spelling) but what about "Briiyat"? I've heard that word spoken in other Russian videos as well.

I think they're saying blyad' which I believe translates directly to "whore", but is generally used as an all-purpose expletive.
posted by Guernsey Halleck at 12:18 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wildfires can easily travel at 60 mph/100 kph

What? Depending on whether you're talking clear terrain or forest that's off by anywhere from a factor of 4 to a factor of 10. Fires can spread surprisingly fast but they can't "easily travel" 60mph. There are rare occasions when firestorms occur and you get like FIRE TORNADOS where the fire is moving 60mph, but it's still not covering ground at 60mph, most of that speed is in the rotation.

Fires are bad, bad, bad, but they aren't demonic hellwalls zooming over the ground at 60 miles per hours.
posted by Justinian at 12:21 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, a huge fire tornado would be awesome to behold. Until your eyes melted and your skin melted I mean. Then it wouldn't be so awesome.
posted by Justinian at 12:22 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've seen a wide range of figures for wildfire speeds, probably because of the anecdotal nature of the reports they're based on. I went for the higher figure because it's too easy to assume you can always drive out the danger if things get out of hand. As you note, in many cases you probably can assuming you're on a paved road.
posted by tommasz at 12:43 PM on August 2, 2010


I think they're saying blyad' which I believe translates directly to "whore", but is generally used as an all-purpose expletive.

Indeed, I know blyad (as blyat from Ukrainian) mostly as used to mean fuck, but does mean whore or slut.
posted by opsin at 12:46 PM on August 2, 2010


briiyat! That video actually is more tense the second time you watch it, when you realize what is going on & how bad of a situation it was. The cc in English helps - you realize that they were just some guys in the wrong place at a very wrong time, and not stupid daredevils.
posted by kanewai at 12:47 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


That machine gun sounding "chu-chu-chu" that one of them kept doing was interesting.
posted by orme at 12:57 PM on August 2, 2010


Until your eyes melted and your skin melted I mean. Then it wouldn't be so awesome.

Any child of the 80s would tell you that the answer for that is do not open the Ark.
posted by thanotopsis at 1:03 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I found it interesting that although I don't speak a word of Russian, the sentences "don't drive into the fire DON'T DRIVE INTO THE FIRE AAAGGH WHY DID YOU DRIVE INTO THE FIRE WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE" turn out to be pretty comprehensible across all languages.
posted by ZsigE at 1:10 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Day turns to night so quickly
posted by Diag at 1:13 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Indeed, I know blyad (as blyat from Ukrainian) mostly as used to mean fuck, but does mean whore or slut.

It literally means whore or slut, but functionally it's used like English fuck(ing), as an all-purpose intensifier. (I knew a guy who literally used it at least once a sentence.)

The other basic curse word that came up constantly in the video was хуй [khui] 'cock, prick,' which is generally considered The Worst Word in the Language (Russians talk about "three-letter words"). It was so ubiquitous they didn't bother translating some of the occurrences.

Amazing video; thanks for posting it. Poor Russia.
posted by languagehat at 1:24 PM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm surprised no one has carved out a little niche translating viral videos. I'd like to know what these guys were saying. And I'm sure a Russian guy somewhere is trying to find out why that drunk guy in Alabama is angry at people strutting that ass.
posted by crapmatic at 2:27 PM on August 2


I have the YouTube closed captioning on, and the captions were being translated into English. And given that the captions read "Stop blocking the road, bitch!" I'm guessing it's a rather good translation at that.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:42 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm with orme , that "chu-chu-chu-chu-chu" noise one of them was making made me approx 100 times tenser every time. It was like those random mystery noises that follow serial killers like Michael Myers around in 80s slasher flicks. Chu-chu-chu-chu-chu - he's behind you! With a knife!
posted by dabitch at 1:55 PM on August 2, 2010


The YT comment explains what was going on. They drove to the burning village to try to help and this road was okay on the way in. When they realised the village was doomed they left by the same road. As soon as they realised the road was now a burning hell they tried to reverse, because there was another road out of the village. But they couldn't because of the cars behind. So they had to go on.
posted by Decani at 2:06 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fucking idiots, seriously:

"It's starting to burn, even here. We'd better stop, a tree might fall down."
*Keeps driving slowly into the fire*
"The entire road is on fire!"
*Keeps driving slowly into the fire*
"Maybe we should turn back"
*Keeps driving slowly into the fire*
"Ok, now we're fucked because there are cars behind us and fire in front of us..."
*Keeps driving slowly into the fire*

One time we were driving toward a small forest fire and the smoke was coming across the road, and some fire was, too. We pulled over some distance from it and waited for a bit while firefighters did their thing, and then we got bored and kicked a ball around on the side of the road with some other people that were stopped, and then we went the long way round. I should put that on youTube.

Even that might not have been sensible behaviour. If we were in Australia, we probably wouldn't have had a chance because the fire might have changed direction and incinerated us in our car.

I also hate these people for causing me to do this: *uses asterisks to denote action*

If the fire came out of nowhere and surprised them, and they didn't consciously decide to drive into a burning forest, I withdraw my comments.
posted by doublehappy at 2:06 PM on August 2, 2010


The YT comment explains what was going on. They drove to the burning village to try to help and this road was okay on the way in. When they realised the village was doomed they left by the same road. As soon as they realised the road was now a burning hell they tried to reverse, because there was another road out of the village. But they couldn't because of the cars behind. So they had to go on.

Oh.
posted by doublehappy at 2:07 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've seen this posted in a few different places and skipped it because I somehow thought it wouldn't be interesting. Damn was I wrong - that is just crazy. Do the people behind them keep driving (thus boxing them in) because they assume "the car in front of us is still going forward, they must know something more than us about it being safe"?
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 2:56 PM on August 2, 2010


I like how everyone from their comfortable homes on their nice computers can sit here and pass judgment on these people that are literally living in a fiery hell right now. Who the hell knows what the fuck you'd do in a situation like that. Also, I think the Youtube caption nicely sums up what was going on and why they were trying to drive through the fire.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 2:57 PM on August 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


Here's some similar footage taken by a news cameraman during the big fires here in 2003. Part 1. Part 2. Gives you some idea how quickly things can change in a bushfire.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 3:12 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Update from my friend-- her mother and family are packing up and leaving. She said that the smoke is so thick that you can't see your own feet, and regarding their house and possessions, "It's just stuff. If it burns, it burns." I'm so relieved they're fleeing the area-- heading for Siberia, 48 hours on the train but clean air, at least.
posted by jokeefe at 3:13 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've seen a wide range of figures for wildfire speeds, probably because of the anecdotal nature of the reports they're based on.

Embers can be carried with the wind, and hence at the speed of wind. The flamefront itself isn't very fast usually, but provided conditions are right embers can land many kilometers away and ignite offspring fires that produce new embers that can be blown away many kilometers etc. This kind of spreading can happen very fast.
posted by Catfry at 3:19 PM on August 2, 2010


http://media.englishrussia.com/the_moscow_region_on_fire/29.jpg

"We're gonna need a bigger hose....."
posted by Cheminatrix at 4:21 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


crazy video. been interesting to see the views go up... i feel like a half hour ago it was 80k, refreshed just now it's 110k...
posted by jcruelty at 4:32 PM on August 2, 2010


You can climb a mountain
You can swim the sea
You can jump into the fire
But you'll never be free
You can shake me up
Or I can break you down
Whoa-o-o-o, whoa-o-o-o...
posted by bwg at 5:33 PM on August 2, 2010


On the speed of fire fronts.
posted by pompomtom at 6:57 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


That New Yorker article on the Australian bushfires said that fire can travel amazingly fast... like in the blink of an eye a huge fire can zap towards you.
posted by jcruelty at 7:48 PM on August 2, 2010


The chu-chu-chu sound is really a guy goin "tiho-tiho-tiho" which literally translated means "quiet", but functionally means "easy" (ease up, take it easy, slow down...)

In other words he's basically soothing the driver and going "easy...easy..." You can hear it escalate and become a clearly spoken "tiho" around 1:19-21 mark when the guy speaking REALLY freaks out.

The swearwords were translated correctly above. Note that the swearing is pretty much average lexicon (in particular, using "the three letter word" or the other one liberally throughout a sentence).
posted by olya at 8:57 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


The chu-chu-chu sound is really a guy goin "tiho-tiho-tiho" which literally translated means "quiet", but functionally means "easy" (ease up, take it easy, slow down...)

Thanks for that. I was curious...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:07 PM on August 2, 2010


I will not be complaining about my local forest fires from here on out.

One of the comments says they passed someone walking on the road. I'm afraid to look…
posted by five fresh fish at 10:24 PM on August 2, 2010


thanks olya * 2. Glad to know it's a word.
posted by dabitch at 2:59 AM on August 3, 2010


Next time, take the scenic route.
posted by markkraft at 7:23 PM on August 3, 2010


I was thinking about making a post about the Moscow peat-bog fires, but I guess this will be it. I don't have time to do any proper editing/searching anyway, and my insight is limited, but I do know that the situation is out of control right now.

Pictures from Voronezh and Maslovka

"the relentless heat wave is keeping the landscape tinder-dry, and scorching temperatures are set to top 40ºC in the next few days" - Summer inferno spreads ever closer towards Russian capital

"authorities conceded Tuesday that wildfires were burning out of control as another 47,000 hectares went up in flames and fires ravaged a military base, threatened a nuclear research center and left hundreds of people homeless" - Shoigu Says Wildfires Out of Control

"Over 403 new forest fires sprang up over the past 24 hours" - Death Toll Rises as Russian Fires Rage

"Altogether, there’re about 60,000 hectares of exhausted peat-bogs around Moscow, of which approximately 12,000 are now burning." - Smoke Still Shrouds Moscow

"The deadly Russia wildfires that are sweeping across the country, amid that country's most ferocious heatwave in recorded history, may also be changing the political landscape as former president and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin vaults to center stage as the country's most decisive and effective leader." - As Russia wildfires rage, Putin shows strength, Medvedev tweets

"Efforts to fight Russia's devastating forest fires have been crippled by a law passed four years ago at the behest of Vladimir Putin and powerful logging interests, environmentalists and politicians said on Tuesday." - Putin law cripples Russia fire-fighting - opposition

"WWF-Russia says the situation is being made worse by existing forest laws which put expensive fire prevention measures in the hands of land renters in and around forested areas. " - Wildfires, bad forest laws linked in Russia

It's pretty scary shit going on, though apparently it also happened back in the 1970s?

I have awful nightmares about the end of the world, New York City at 105F daily with no power, etc. This is about how they go.

"According to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Centre, the Arctic sea ice seems to have melted faster in June 2010 than ever measured in 30 years of satellite observation data" - Fire, Heat Waves, & Melting Ice

"[in 2010] the deniers got it wrong while climate scientists got it spectacularly right. Indeed, we should note just how prescient the latter have been." - A dark ideology is driving those who deny climate change
posted by mrgrimm at 7:30 AM on August 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


Fires and Smoke over Russia as Seen from Space
posted by homunculus at 10:04 AM on August 5, 2010


There was a report on CBC this morning that wheat prices are starting to skyrocket due to Russia closing its export borders. This drought and the fires are going to cause a lot of grief not just to the locals (who have my sympathies), but with the poor around the world.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:06 AM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wheat prices were mentioned briefly in my Fire, Heat Waves, & Melting Ice link:

"The price of wheat has gone up 40% over the last month due to all the fires and droughts in Russia (and poor harvests in Canada due to a wet planting season)."

Somewhat related (not sure if it was posted to the front-page of the blue) is the fantastic Harper's article The Food Bubble: How Wall Street Starved Millions and Got Away With It.

Amy Goodman interviews the author, Frederick Kaufman:

"restructuring of these commodity markets pushed 250 million new people into food insecurity and starving, and brought the world total up to over a billion people"

It's just shameful, and the problem hasn't even really been even acknowledged by the government.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:33 AM on August 6, 2010


Russia's worst heatwave in more than a century has seen the mortality rate in Moscow soar by a third in July.

Even accounting for population growth, it's pretty obvious that this disaster has killed over 4,500 Muscovites in July alone, and that August is shaping up to be even worse... and this is not just a problem for Moscow.

In Nizhny Novgorod, Russia's 4th largest city with over 1 million people, air quality is even worse. Really, we're looking at a huge area effected, with tens of millions of people. This could easily become worse than the Great Smog of London.

A Russian LiveJournaler who lives out in the country surrounding Moscow wrote a scathing post about the situation. Apparently, his village used to have a fire truck, a bell, and ponds regularly filled with water to battle fires... but the truck was taken away, the ponds became private property and were drained, and the bell was replaced with a phone that the government didn't connect.

Give me back my damn bell, bitches, and take your f*cking phone."

Looks like Yeltsin, who is using this whole thing as a way of stabbing Medvedev in the back before running for election again, responded to his comment on a radio show and promised to give him his bell back.

Putin is basically going from place to place making speeches and promises. The question is, will be really be able to keep them... and if he doesn't, will people hold him accountable for that fact.
posted by markkraft at 12:23 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


The same is inevitably going to happen in Northern Canada. Dry bog burns. And it is eventually going to happen to great tracts of northern forests. Beetle kill caused by changes in climate has already caused BC's forests to die en masse. Russia's vast forests are equally susceptible. They're all going to burn.

The true costs of industrial-scale consumption and pollution are going to start being paid. Massive and inefficient use of carbon-based energy, ocean fisheries, potable water, fertilizers, etcetera etcetera that makes it possible for hundreds of millions of people live a modern consumer lifestyle — in the long run, it doesn't come cheap.

What we do not pay for in cash dollars now, we pay in crisis-caused deaths later.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:40 PM on August 6, 2010


Another fun fact: there's a wheat rust decimating crops in Africa, and it's likely to spread. Russia and Canada's stressed-out crops are at risk. Especially if they're monocropped. Globally, food security is becoming increasing at-risk.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:42 PM on August 6, 2010


Looks like Dr. Jeff Masters at Wunderblog did the same kind of guesstimations I was doing and extrapolated that over 15,000 might have died so far in Russia as a result of the heatwave and resultant fires.
posted by markkraft at 4:27 AM on August 11, 2010


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